Filipino soldiers on the BRP Sierra Madre hold banners, one of which reads "For Peace and Harmony in the West Philippine Sea," with Christmas care packages in front of them. | Photo from WESCOM

Filipino soldiers defending the nation’s claim in the West Philippine Sea aboard the BRP Sierra Madre (LS 57) will share spaghetti, fruit salad, ham, queso de bola, biscuits, and other non-perishable food items on Christmas Day.

They were among the provisions delivered to them on a “successful” mission run, or rotation and reprovisioning (RORE), on December 17 amid persistent shadowing and radio challenges from a China Coast Guard (CCG) ship and numerous militia vessels.

The tank landing ship where Filipino troops are stationed to protect the Philippines’ claim in the disputed region was built for the US Navy during WWII and the Vietnam War before it was transferred to the Philippine Navy and renamed BRP Sierra Madre.

The government intentionally ran her aground on Ayungin Shoal (also known as Second Thomas Shoal) so she could serve as an outpost to assert Philippine sovereignty over the disputed territory with China.

Navy soldiers received among others ham, canned ingredients for fruit salad, Danes queso de bola, spaghetti packages and others. | Photo from WESCOM

“This mission was equally significant because Christmas care packs were given to the crew of BRP Sierra Madre,” the Western Command (WESCOM) said in a statement. 

The completion of the resupply run on December 17 brings the total number of “successful” missions for this year to 11.

WESCOM added that the care packs were brought to the sailors and marines on Ayungin Shoal with the University of Perpetual Help System and the Naval Forces Reserve National Capital Region.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.